The fast-paced world demands constant attention, with digital devices a constant lure, even behind the wheel. The perils of distracted driving, however, pose an imminent threat to road safety for the distracted driver and everyone around them. These distractions come in various forms, the most prevalent being visual, manual and cognitive distractions.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of driving, whether texting, eating or fiddling with the stereo—distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety.
Visual distractions: Taking your eyes off the road
Visual distractions entail activities that compel a driver to look away from the road. This could be glancing at a text message, a map, a billboard or the scenery. This split-second diversion can result in a collision as it reduces reaction time to unexpected events. A driver must be able to quickly scan all the areas around their vehicle so they can spot anything that requires them to react. When their eyes aren’t on the road, this isn’t possible.
Manual distractions: Hands off the wheel
Manual distractions occur when drivers remove their hands from the wheel. Activities like eating, adjusting the radio or reaching for an object might seem innocuous, but they seriously impair the driver’s ability to react quickly. This distraction can make it harder to steer and brake effectively, particularly in emergencies.
Cognitive distractions: Mind off driving
Cognitive distractions take a driver’s mind off the task of driving. This could be due to daydreaming, stress or deep conversations monopolizing mental resources. Even with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, the risk of accidents amplifies if the mind is elsewhere.
Even short distractions can be deadly
It doesn’t take a long distraction to lead to a crash. A driver taking their eyes off the road for even five seconds, which is the average time to check a text message, is problematic. In that short period, a vehicle that’s moving 55 miles per hour will go the length of a regulation football field. A wreck can easily occur during that short period, especially if there’s a lot of traffic or if the road is curvy.
Distracted driving crashes can lead to serious injuries that require extensive medical care. Seeking compensation for the financial damages is possible, but there are time limits for this. Acting quickly is critical so that accident victims can seek the compensation to which they’re entitled.